Tuesday 27 September 2022

Strictly Sockalong 2022

I haven't done any knitting at all since I finished the socks I made for the Strictly Sockalong 2021. In fact, I haven't done any crafting whatsoever since I moved house at the end of April. If there's anything that will get a pair of socks cast on the needles though, it's the Strictly Sockalong, which is hosted by Ali on the Little Drops of Wonderful podcast. I think this is the fifth year that I've joined in.

I had a look through my stash and decided it was high time that I used this lovely skein from Maximoo Yarns which my friend Susan, from Granny Smith's Quilting, sent to me all the way from Australia last year. It's in the Candy Store Ruins colourway. 

I've pulled out a project bag to use. This is one I treated myself to a few years ago and I love it just as much now as I did then, those cute little doggies.

The pattern I've decided on is Solar by Gill Slater, it's a free download on Ravelry. I haven't used this pattern before so it will be nice to knit something new.

The launch show of Strictly Come Dancing was last Friday and it was back on our screens again on Saturday, so we had a double helping this week to get us going. This is how far I've got so far. The rib is done and the first few rows of the leg have been started.

Let's hope that picking up my knitting needles will encourage my knitting mojo to return, I must say that I'm enjoying getting back to a bit of sock knitting again and there's a few things I'd quite like to cast on, watch this space.

Friday 23 September 2022

A Belated Birthday Surprise

I had such a lovely surprise on Saturday. Mick had gone to cricket and I was just about to start some ironing when there was a knock at the door. I wasn't expecting any deliveries so it was a surprise to be handed a parcel. 

It turned out to be a belated birthday gift from my friend Maggie who blogs at BlackCountry Wench

Maggie always wraps everything beautifully, it's a shame really to spoil all that lovely packaging.

These look like little bags of jewels. They look so enticing, it was exciting to see what was inside.

I wasn't disappointed, not jewels but just as precious. Beautiful mini skeins of yarn which will look gorgeous added to my scrappy blanket.

And the other lovely gifts I opened. A gorgeous bee and sunflower burner. I've just been sorting my ornaments out since the house move and I've got just the place for this, I love it. Two balls of cotton yarn in such pretty colours, I think they'll make some very pretty dishcloths. A box of Toffifee which I haven't opened yet because I know that once I do, they'll be gone that same day. Is it just me or does everyone have trouble stopping once they start? I received a lovely card too.

Thank you so much Maggie, I love everything, you obviously know me very well.

Monday 19 September 2022

Queen Elizabeth II

I think we'll all remember where we were when we heard the news of the Queen's death. Mick, Eleanor, Jacob and I were sat in a meeting with the wedding coordinator at the venue where Eleanor and Jacob are getting married when we heard the sad news. 

We'd heard earlier on that day that the Queen was under medical supervision as doctors were concerned for her health, but I didn't expect anything to happen quite so quickly. Although she was 96 years old, it seemed like she would go on forever. It was hard to imagine her not being here, she marked her 70th year on the throne this year and most of us have never known another monarch.

So many people have queued for many hours to pay their respects as they see the Queen lying in state at Westminster Hall, but for those of us who haven't made the trip to London, the television coverage has been exceptional, allowing us to see the procession and all the major events of the past ten days.

Today, the Queen is laid to rest in a historic state funeral. She fulfilled her promise to devote her whole life to our service and that devotion to her duty is an example to us all.

It's now time for her son as King Charles III to take his place on the throne and I think he'll do a magnificent job. After all, he's been in training for a very long time and has been set such a marvellous example by the Queen.

Thursday 15 September 2022

Northanger Abbey

I read my first Jane Austen novel, Persuasion, earlier this year and enjoyed it so I thought I'd give Northanger Abbey a go. When I was studying for my O-levels, I had a friend who attended a different school to the one I went to. Although we were both taking English Literature, we were studying different books. One of the books my friend was reading was Northanger Abbey and I've always wondered about it ever since.

"Seventeen-year-old Catherine Morland excitedly accepts an offer to accompany family friends on a trip to Bath. There, Catherine makes new acquaintances who invite her to Northanger Abbey, and she encounters a world she'd only glimpsed in the pages of her beloved gothic novels. Through Catherine's eyes, the Abbey is full of mystery, suspense, and adventure; and she is the heroine at the centre of it all. As her imagination begins to run wild, she imperils her summer, her new friendships, and her burgeoning relationship with the charming Henry Tilney.

Both a satire of gothic fiction and a coming-of-age story, Northanger Abbey is widely regarded as one of Jane Austen's most comedic works."

Although I enjoyed Persuasion when I read it, I have to say that I enjoyed Northanger Abbey a whole lot more. What a shame I didn't study this for my English Literature O-level, though I probably wouldn't have been drawn in to all the drama of high society in Bath at such a young age. The characters are larger than life and although the storyline is light-hearted, it kept my interest the whole way through. 

I shall definitely be reading more Jane Austen.

Sunday 11 September 2022

Kirkstall Abbey Market

It's a long time since we've visited a market at Kirkstall Abbey but as Mick's cricket match had been cancelled the week before last, it gave us the chance to rectify that. It was sunny and warm too, which was a bonus.

Set in the beautiful surroundings, local suppliers, makers and creatives sell their wares. The markets are held here on the last weekend of the month.

There's all manner of stalls, food and drink, cheeses, baked goods, jewellery, toys, button badges, and crafts, among others. We came away with some delicious brownies as well as some chutney and loose tea which will go in a hamper we're planning to make as a gift at Christmas.

After looking round the market, we had a wander around the ruins. Founded in 1152 by Cistercian monks, Kirkstall Abbey is one of the most complete examples of a Cistercian abbey in Britain.

It gained its wealth from keeping sheep for the wool trade.

It was disestablished during the Dissolution of the Monasteries under Henry VIII.

The Abbey is set in beautiful parkland along the banks of the River Aire.

The church still stands to roof level.

In the late eighteenth and early nineteenth centuries the main thoroughfare to Leeds actually ran through the nave of the church. It was diverted following the Dissolution of the Monasteries in 1539 to stop the monks from returning.

It was quite busy with the market in full swing and the weather so good, but it was still so peaceful.

The abbey is a Grade I listed building. It was acquired by the Leeds Corporation as a gift from Colonel North, an English investor and businessman, and opened to the public in the late nineteenth century.

It was a lovely couple of hours visiting the market and then taking a stroll around the grounds. It's definitely worth a visit if you're ever in the area.

Wednesday 7 September 2022

My Birthday In Filey

It was my birthday on Saturday. Eleanor was working, Daniel was playing cricket and Jacob was on a late shift, so Mick booked a table at a local Italian restaurant on Friday night so that we could have an early celebration and everyone could be there. Afterwards, we went for cocktails before all heading back to our house. It was a really lovely evening.

With everyone busy on Saturday, Mick and I had the day to ourselves. We haven't really planned any days out this year, we've just gone with the flow, and this is what we did on my birthday. We had a leisurely morning, I opened my cards and gifts and then we got in the car without knowing where we were heading. We haven't had many days this year at the seaside so I thought it would be nice to have a day by the sea so we set off in the general direction of the east coast.

Filey is somewhere we've never really explored. Even as a child, it was one of the seaside towns which I was never taken to so it was finally settled, that's where we'd go.

As with most of the locations on the east coast, Filey operates a dog ban on the beach during the summer months, but there was a spacious area where dogs are allowed.

Archie was happy to be at the seaside again, he loves it on the beach, though he's never as enthusiastic nowadays as he used to be, he's happy to trot by our side or go for a paddle in the sea rather than racing around in the wide open spaces.

We saw a huge jellyfish on the beach. The poor things dry out and die when they're on land as they're unable to breathe, how sad.

Filey Brigg lies about a mile to the north of Filey. There are steep cliffs and below, the promontory continues as a blade of rock, barely above the waves.

There's a few snack bars and shellfish kiosks by the beach but this part of Filey isn't anywhere near as busy as other seaside towns along the coast, such as Scarborough or Bridlington. I'm not sure what it's like further along the front as we didn't venture very far from the beach where Archie was allowed but it's somewhere I'd like to explore more.

Archie did very well before he began to tire. We try not to keep him out too long these days otherwise it knocks him out for the next few days.

Before we returned home, Mick and I shared a tray of chips, before I indulged in a cup of tea and a doughnut. I say doughnut but when I opened the bag, there were two in there. We'd only asked for, and paid for, one as Mick doesn't like them, but I'm not complaining. They were freshly cooked so they were warm, and delicious.

We hadn't been home long before Eleanor finished work and came round. Daniel and Jasmine arrived once cricket had finished, it had been a long game away from home, and then later on, after 9pm, Jacob arrived. He'd been on a late shift but had managed to get away early. I had a lovely birthday, celebrated with the people who matter, good food, good company, lots of laughs, a lovely day out, and I was given such wonderful cards and gifts. I feel very lucky.

Saturday 3 September 2022


The weather forecast looked good for the Thursday of Mick's holiday so we decided, the night before, that we'd spend the day in the Yorkshire Dales. It's somewhere I've written about many times as it's a place we love, we visit often. This time we started off in Hawes which is in Wensleydale.

Hawes Yarnbombers had been out decorating the town with crochet versions of Shrek and his friends.

I just love the expressions on the character's faces, what a great job the Yarnbombers have done. There was a box for donations for the Yorkshire Air Ambulance, I hope they raise lots of money for this very deserving cause.

Hawes is a market town in the Richmondshire district of North Yorkshire. One place we always visit when we're nearby is the Wensleydale Creamery, we're quite partial to cheese and Eleanor always puts an order in too when she knows we'll be visiting. Cheese making in the area dates right back to 1150 when French Cistercian monks first settled in Wensleydale, bringing with them their cheese-making recipe. On this visit we settled on Wensleydale, Fountains Gold Cheddar and Extra Mature Cheddar.

It's an interesting town to look round, as I've already mentioned there's the Creamery there. There's also the Dales Countryside Museum which tells the story of the Yorkshire Dales and the people who have lived and worked here for thousands of years. There's a ropemakers where you can watch traditional ropemaking in progress. There's a few waterfalls in the vicinity, Hardraw Force, Aysgill Force, and Cotter Force. Hawes is a market town and market day is Tuesday, but there's some lovely shops to browse there too. Doesn't the cottage above look pretty with all the plants outside.

After our visit to Hawes we drove over Buttertubs Pass, a high road which winds its way north from Simonstone near Hawes towards Thwaite and Muker in Swaledale, still in the district of Richmondshire.

The road passes 20-metre-deep limestone potholes called the Buttertubs. The story is that as farmers rested at the top of the climb on a hot day, they'd lower the butter they were carrying to sell at the market in Hawes into the potholes to keep it cool, and it's these potholes which gave the pass its name. The scenery from this high aspect is just stunning.

You do have to have your wits about you as you're driving here as there's parts of the road with steep drops to the side, and sheep often wander onto the road too.

The weather wasn't as nice as we'd been led to believe it would be, do forecasters ever get it right? It was okay though, it stayed fine and that's the main thing. A trip to the Dales never disappoints.